Stories & Features

Electric vehicle fan all revved up about the new Tesla

Image of two Tesla cars side by side at an EV charging station in California
The popular Tesla Model S is on the left, while the recently-released Tesla Model X (an SUV) is on the right. On Thursday, the most affordable Tesla ever will be unveiled.

Vancouver Tesla owner would drive to L.A. to see Model 3 unveiled

Blaine Kyllo

Paul Carter is an electric vehicle aficionado. He's a member of the Vancouver Tesla owners club and the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, and I met him at the Vancouver International Auto Show, where he was volunteering for Emotive, a group promoting plug-in vehicle awareness in B.C.

Carter knows firsthand what it's like to own an electric vehicle. He's on his second Tesla, a red Model S P90d that replaces the grey one he bought in the spring of 2014. And he's rather excited about what's happening this week.

Today (Thursday, March 31) Elon Musk will reveal the Model 3, the latest Tesla automobile. The founder and CEO of Tesla is hosting an event at the company’s design studio in greater Los Angeles, California.

The Model 3 is expected to be priced for a wider customer base than the two existing Teslas. The Model S sedan starts at over $100,000 Cdn, with the Model X SUV starting at about 10% more than that. Analysts have suggested the Model 3 will be about $45,000.

Six ways B.C. is great for electric vehicles

Driving to California in a Tesla

Tesla owners were invited to register for a lottery for invitations to the event. Carter didn't win the lottery but said he was close to the top of the wait list. And he confessed that he was prepared to head to California at a moment's notice if he was invited at the last minute.

"I can get there in a day," he said.

It's a trip Carter has made five times already, stopping seven times for between 20 and 40 minutes to charge at Tesla Supercharger stations. The Supercharger network that has been developed by Tesla, said Carter, makes long-distance travel easier.

In addition to California, Carter has also done multiple road trips to Seattle and Portland, and even drove his first Tesla to Prince George and back on a business trip. "It was just enough range to get from Kamloops to Valemont on the way up," he said, "and from Williams Lake to Kamloops on the way back."

Reserving a Model 3

Tesla fans can reserve a Model 3 for a refundable deposit of $1,000 by visiting the Tesla store on Robson Street in Vancouver when it opens today (Thursday). Online reservations will open as Musk takes the stage at 8:30 p.m. Pacific time tonight.

Carter thinks that the Model 3 will be a "real game changer" because many more people will be able to afford it.

EV enthusiast clubs have come a long way

Carter is the treasurer of the Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association (VEVA) , which was formed in the 1980s by a group of people who were interested in battery-powered vehicles.

Back then, most members were converting vehicles from combustion to electric. Today, members meet weekly to show off their EVs and talk about their experiences. There's also a VEVA Islands Chapter with members from the Victoria area.